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A Journey From Slavery To Freedom

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I was born in Virginia in 1845 and was a slave to Mr. George Calomese. My father and mother both were slaves, as was I. My mother was eighteen when she got married, and my father was nineteen. They are both still living and in very good health and are enjoying their freedom as every other citizen. Mother and Father told us our family had a long history of being slaves. In about 1619 many of our family members were brought to America on Dutch ships from Africa (, 2007). As a child I would often wonder what Africa would be like. Mother told me we were the only ethnic group brought to America against our will.

I can remember when I was a child and mother would tell us we would not always be in slavery. It would make us feel very glad when mother spoke of this. It gave us hope that life could be better. As a child I wanted so much to learn how to write, but most white people would not have it. Every time I would hear someone reading or writing I would try to listen, but most times were shooed away. My mother told me to be careful, but to try to take in as much as I could. It was not often one would see an educated black man.

My master’s family was one of the first to Virginia. They were a very wealthy family and had many things. You could see our masters putting their hands on little Negro boys and saying “here’s $1,000, I am buying this boy” (docsouth, 2008). That is how much one went for back then. Mrs. Calomese was a very nice lady. Often her children would try to teach me how to read, but often we were interrupted. The farm we lived on had about 500 acres of land and some of the most beautiful springs you could ever see.

Father always grew some of the best wheat crops around. He was considered one of the best farmers in the country, and still is today. Father now farms for himself today. I have no doubt that if father had farmed for himself when we were little, we would have had the best education. I can not tell you how happy I am that when I get off work I can go to my own home and not have a master to work for.

During the Civil War my family and I fled to the north to get away from slavery (, 2008). Fleeing to the north gave us hope of being our own person. Many of the African Americans settled in some of the bigger northern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, or St. Louis. Many of these African Americans formed small farming communities. One of the most famous African American farming communities is Nicodeums, Kansas (, n.d.). This was the first southern all black community in the south around Mississippi.

Some African Americans had farms in more urban places, such as Kansas City, Kansas. One of the most famous migrations of African Americans occurred



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